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  1. How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player - 21 Three Approaches To Playing The Same Song As in all my articles, nothing is written in stone. They are merely suggestions to make you a better dulcimer player. Why would you need three approaches to playing the same song? The answer is that it depends upon the type of play and the venue of where that song is played. We will discuss group playing at a jam or in a club; group playing at a performance; and solo playing in any situation. Let us begin in group play. Whether in a jam or in a club situation we just whip out our music and start playing, right? Well, maybe not. In this type of situation, you have the great latitude in playing. Different arrangements of the song can be played together as long as the chord changes are the same and at the same position in the music. Yes, you can deviate somewhat from the written chord changes by substituting a minor chord where there is a major chord. For example: Instead of play a D-chord, you may substitute a Bm-chord (as long as it sounds good). In all group settings it is important that everyone be on the same page. It is up to the group leader or whoever calls the song to set the tempo and give a lead-in so that everyone knows when to start playing and at what speed. Playing a recognizable phrase from the song is always a good way to lead everyone into the song. For example: In the song, “Amazing Grace”, a good place to play your lead-in phrase is: “Was blind, but now I see”. You are playing enough measures so that everyone can follow along and know when to start playing. Whoever calls the song should also state the number of times that it will be played. Another way to play a lead-in is to play a series of chords from the key that the song is in. For example: Play D-G-A for songs in the key of D. Play G-C-D for songs in the key of G. Group play gives us great latitude for embellishments and creativity. For example: If a song has four quarter notes in a measure, you may want to play any combination of quarter and eighth notes. Try going up or down one note. Decades ago when I took a course from Stephen Seifert, he referred to these notes as Up-neighbors and Down-neighbors. They will add spice and color to your music. If your song has a series of tied measures, there will be a lot of “open space” in the music. Sometimes this sounds good and at other times, the silence can be improved. For example: Your song has two measures of a D-chord tied together. That is eight counts. You may want to arpeggiate the first D-chord (D-A-F#-A) and play the second D-chord once. Let us move onto group playing at a performance. Someone should be designated as the group leader. He or she will introduce the song and play the lead-in for each song being played. It is important here for consistency, that everyone use the same arrangement of the song. Recognizable phrases are important because it helps the audience recognize the song, sort of a teaser. Prior to playing the song, if there is some information about the song that you know, share it with the audience and that will help the them to better understand who wrote the song and why it was written. For example, the background of “Amazing Grace” is amazing. Share this type of information with your audience. If, during your group performance, you will be playing some songs that require the use of a Capo, save those songs for last. That way you will only have to retune one time. This brings us to the third approach of playing a song. Whether we are playing a solo at our respective clubs, in jam, or at a performance, we have the most latitude for playing a song and making it “our own”. Many of the techniques and suggestions of the first two approaches will be applicable to our solo play. One of the things that can be used effectively in solo play is dynamics. Here you can play a phrase softer or louder, increase or decrease your tempo, change the key of the song, etc. Chord-Melody strumming will give you the most volume. Flat picking a song will give you the most volume for solo play.. Finger picking adds a softness and fluidity to your song. Economy of motion is best achieved through finger picking. Hopefully these suggestions will help you to Become A Better Dulcimer Player.
    3 points
  2. The lyrics to this song were written by Robert Burns. The melody was taken from an older Scottish folk song, author unknown. Pay attention to all the dotted quarter notes followed by eighth notes. It is straight forward and easy to play with just three chords, D-G-A. Auld Lang Syne.pdf Auld Lang Syne.mid
    3 points
  3. Lyrics 1. We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens his will to make known; the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing. Sing praises to his name; he forgets not his own. 2. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine; so from the beginning the fight we were winning; thou, Lord, wast at our side; all glory be thine! 3. We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant, and pray that thou still our defender wilt be. Let thy congregation escape tribulation; thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free! "We Gather Together" is a Christian hymn of Dutch origin written in 1597 by Adrianus Valerius as "Wilt heden nu treden" to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout. It was originally set to a Dutch folk tune. In the United States, it is popularly associated with Thanksgiving Day and is often sung at family meals and at religious services on that day. We Gather Together2.pdf We Gather Together - Bass.pdf We Gather Together - Melody and Bass.mid
    3 points
  4. Can one play Opera on the Dulcimer? Of course! Our instrument is very versatile. The attached aria from the Opera Rigoletto is in the Key of A. La Donna E Mobile.pdf La Donna E Mobile.mid
    2 points
  5. Russian folk song. Kalinka.pdf Kalinka.mid
    2 points
  6. How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player - 20 Embellishments and Other Tips Embellishments should be used sparingly. To many of them will spoil your song. The following thoughts are just that - my thoughts. If they work for you, great. The following suggested thoughts will be applicable to solo play and/or group play. They are not written in stone. 1. Hammer-ons and pull-offs. To be used sparingly throughout solo play. Yes, you can use them in group play; however, they will get lost by the sound of the other players. 2. Dynamics - These are very underused techniques that will add a lot of color to either solo or group play. Do you want your audience to have to “strain’ to hear you? Play a phrase of your song softly. Do you want to emphasize a phrase or measure in your song? Play louder. 3. Note emphasis - To be consistent when playing in 4/4 time, the emphasis is on the 1st. And 3rd note. In ¾ time, the emphasis is on the 1st note. In 6/8 time the emphasis is on the 1st and 4th note. 4. Playing speed - If you are not practicing with a metronome, you should be. Can’t afford one? There are many free digital metronomes available on the Internet for your computer, tablet, or smart phone. As I see it, one of the biggest problems in group play is that when someone speeds up, the rest of the group do the same. A better solution would be to stop the play and start all over. Many players do not listen to the player on their right, left, or where ever and consequently start speeding up. One possible solution to this problem is when in group play, the person calling the song tells the other players how many measures they are going to use as a lead-in to the song. The other players can then follow along until they are supposed to join in to the play. The caller sets the playing speed. If you are playing a gig, your strongest player in that group should be the lead-in player and he/she will announce to the other players how many measures they will use to lead-in. This can be done verbally or by the use of raised fingers that all can see. That way, everyone will know when to join in and at what speed. Play a recognizable phrase from the song to tantalize or tease your audience. 5. If you are going to play songs that require the use of a capo, play those songs at the end of your gig. Once everyone has put on their capos and are sure of the tuning, you can finish your session without having to retune your instrument.   6. Finger picking and flat picking - Both are best suited for solo play. Slow songs such as ballads or slow waltzes, songs that you want to be heard softly are best played with the fingers. Flat picking is done with your pick and will give more volume to your play especially when arpeggiating a chord. Finger picking is much easier than flat picking. These thoughts are my own and they will work. If something else works for you, go for it?  
    2 points
  7. You're welcome. When you've been messing about with dulcimers as long as I have, paying forward to folks is just what I do.
    2 points
  8. As you can see in the picture below, ball-end strings (top) have a brass "ball" in the end. Loop-end strings have a twisted loop. Those of us who build instruments never use Gorilla glue -- it expands and has a tendency to open cracks. Likwise we seldom, if ever use epoxy. For hairline cracks which can be opened by pressing on one side or the other of a crack, we us a cyanoacrylate (Super) glue. For cracks which need filling, we use a mixture of fine sawdust and Titebond or Titebon II, I often run a bead of the glue into such a crack and then sprinkle sawdust on top,. Then press the mixture into the crack and clean off the excess with a damp paper towel.
    2 points
  9. How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player - Part - 19 Finger Positions and Economy of Motion In my first article on “How to Become A Better Dulcimer Player - Part 1”, I briefly touched on the subject of finger positioning. A big impediment to smoother dulcimer playing is not using economy of motion and misplaced finger positioning. Are finger positions written in stone? Absolutely not; however, there are those combinations of finger positions that will result in economy of motion and smoother playing. As stated before, our instrument usually does not have much sustain or volume. One way to counteract this is to attempt to leave one or more fingers down on the current melody note/chord while moving on to the next melody note/chord. This is not always possible; however, it will work a large percentage of the time. I have attached a PDF file that I created using an example of the 1st fret on our instruments. You are essentially creating a barre chord with your index-middle-ring fingers to achieve your economy of motion. You then lift a finger or not and add your thumb to reach other notes. It is usually possible to reach up to the 4th fret with your thumb. The techniques are applicable at each fret as you move up the fret board of your instrument. If you are fortunate to have long fingers, you usually can move your index finger on the bass string 3 frets, i.e. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd frets. The same holds true as you move up the fret board. If you do not have long fingers, use your thumb on the bass string where indicated. My example is by no means complete for every possible finger combination. It it but a starting point to improve your playing. Finger Placement.pdf
    2 points
  10. Sheer memorization, Dave. I listen to a song 50, 100, 200, or more times, until I can sing/hum or whistle it; on demand. At that point I sit down and pick out the melody tab for it, and play it regularly for about a week in between other tunes. By that time it's imbedded in my long term memory along with a couple hundred other tunes. When I perform I have a Cheat Sheet which has the opening measures of either the tunes in the set I'm going to play, or a general page of maybe a hundred tunes with opening measures (thank Murphy for adjustable lettering in word processors!) printed two columns about 50 lines each. I have my cheat sheets in a sheet protector that I can clip to a music stand.
    2 points
  11. Hello folks! My name is Greg, and this is my first post. I just finished building my first dulcimer, completely from scratch. It’s not perfect, but I learned a lot to use in the future. I used the article from Woodcraft magazine as a guide, but made changes due to the size of lumber I had, and the fact that I wanted a scroll peg head. I made the body from a remnant of a curly maple gunstock blank (one of my other hobbies is building flintlock rifles), and made the peg head and fretboard from scraps of black walnut. The position markers are from a lighter colored piece of English walnut. Bone nut and bridge, and ukulele friction tuners from CB Gitty. This one is a little small, 30.5” x 7”, and the scale is 25.5”. I’m already planning #2…
    1 point
  12. "Yankee Doodle" is a well-known American song and a nursery rhyme, the early versions of which predate the Seven Years War and The American Revolution. It is often sung patriotically in the United States today and is the state anthem of Connecticut The melody is thought to be much older than both the lyrics and the subject, going back to folk songs of Medieval Europe. Yankee Doodle.pdf Yankee Doodle.mid
    1 point
  13. Lucy Long.pdf Lucy Long.mid
    1 point
  14. This song was written by St. Francis of Assisi as a poem, circa 1225. It was not put to music until, circa 1899 by William Draper. Like most of the older songs, the timing is unusual. The song is in 3/2 timing (3 half notes per measure or 6 quarter notes per measure). As in all songs, the timing is everything, i.e. look at the second measure. The 2-3-4 is a whole note (four counts) followed by 2-0-0 (two counts) for a total of six counts. The song is easy to play with only D, G, and A chords. Listen to the audio file for the timing. All Creatures Of Our God And King.pdf All Creatures Of Our God And King.mid
    1 point
  15. For about a year now a group of folks have been getting together Tuesday evenings on Zoom to play mountain dulcimer together. We invite you join us. We play noter or finger dancing style mostly in DAA but also in DAC, DAG, and DAd. The format is one person leads a song/tune while everyone else is muted and plays along. While Dave Holeton usually leads, others have led as well. You are welcome to join us. We meet on Tuesday evenings at 8:30 p.m. (EDT), 7:30 p.m. (CDT), 6:30 p.m. (MDT), and 5:30 p.m. PDT. A link for each week's meeting is available on The Traditional Mountain Dulcimore website. Here is a link to the thread where meetings are posted: https://thetraditionalappalachiandulcimore.com/board/47/ttad-zoom-group The meeting lasts for 40 minutes and we usually work on four songs. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
    1 point
  16. William Tell Overture.pdf William Tell Overture.mid
    1 point
  17. Botany Bay.pdf Botany Bay.MID
    1 point
  18. N-I-C-E! Great job. You've got "the bug" now!
    1 point
  19. Rest are put into a song to create momentary silence. In practical application what needs to happen is the dampening or silencing of the note/chord right before the rest. Using a finger or the edge of your hand as a barr to silence the sound works well. The attached song, Kazachok is both a song and a dance from the Ukraine, written in the 16th century. Pay attention to measure 12-13 and 20-21. After playing the 3rd note of measure 12, you silence that string, count your rest and then play the 4-4-6 chord. When played, it sounds like a hesitation. Do the same for measures 20-21. Listen to the MIDI file to hear how it should sound. Kazachok.pdf Kazachok.mid
    1 point
  20. This arrangement is a good finger exercise in practicing "not looking" at your fret board. The melody does not go above the 3rd fret. Yankee Doodle.pdf Yankee Doodle.mid
    1 point
  21. Good morning everybody. This is Andy Cohen, Larkin Kelley Bryant's husband. Some of you may know Larkin from seeing her at a festival, from coming to the Memphis Dulcimer Festival, which she co-founded, or from her classic programmed instructional, Larkin's Dulcimer Book. Larkin will turn 77 tomorrow. She is ill with a brain cancer that can be palliated, but not cured. Larkin's Dulcimer Book, which first came out in 1984, is still available, as are the CD that goes with it, Riverlark Squeakless strings, and her very fine (and challenging!) CD, Lark In The Twilight. If any of y'all out there would be interested in any of these things, let us know. Riverlark may be the smallest Mom and Pop internet store in the whole USA, but we can still get to the post office. If you want to order something, you can let me know at: <andy.cohen@riverlark.com> as I'm sort of charge d'affaires these days. Shops and teachers can still get wholesale rates on things, and we will reorder as we need to if there's a big rush. Larkin's sister Mary, her prize student Lee Cagle, my friend Moses Crouch and I are all taking good care of her. People in general, my friends and hers, have been very kind. We don't have any material shortages, so don't worry about that. We're spending time cataloguing her instruments, organizing her music, and assembling the very active history of a very interesting life. Riverlark Music is still going, and so is Larkin.
    1 point
  22. There really is no "correct" width for a fretboard. Those who build 3-string traditional diatonic staple-fretted boards make them about 1" wide. Most 4-string fretboards are around 1-1/2" wide --- 1-3/8ths to 1-5/8ths. 1-1/2 is convenient because it's a stock lumber size called a 1x2. Part of the choice has to do with the "look" of the board on the design. A really wide fretboard on a narrow-waisted hourglass. IMHO doesn't look as good a s somewhat narrower board. A wide-bodied elliptical like a Galax design looks good with a wider board, as does a Tennessee Music Box.
    1 point
  23. Four parts of this lovely song. The melody can be played by itself. The Counter Melody can be played by itself. Harmony and Bass require the Melody. This is a nice way to add some variety to your club or group playing. You can play from 1 to 4 parts. The MIDI files contains all four parts. Pavanne d'anleterre - 4 parts.pdf Pavane d'Angleterre - Melody,Harmony, Bass, Counter Melodytef.mid
    1 point
  24. Wow, Andy, I am so sorry to hear of Larkin's brain tumor. You sound like all of you are handling this well. Although I built my first dulcimer in 1974, I purchased Larkin's book after it came out. I think I wore out the cassette. Please keep us posted as things progress and know that Larkin holds a special place in our hearts. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
    1 point
  25. A song by Turlough O'Carolan written in 1691. A good finger exercise. Lord Inchiquin.pdf Lord Inchiquin.mid
    1 point
  26. The words to the attached song, "Commin' Through The Rye" was written by Robert Burns from one of his poems. The melody is similar to the older versions of "Auld Lang Syne", whose author is unknown. Commin' Through The Rye - Melody and Harmony.pdf Comming Through The Rye - Melody and Harmony.mid
    1 point
  27. The attached song was written by Turlough O'Carolan, the blind Irish harper. It is said to be his first song. Most of the really old songs are easy to play, in as much as they usually have no more than three chords (D-G-A) for this one. Notice that the chords are on the second, rather than the first notes. Si Beag Si Mhor.pdf Si Beag Si Mhor.mid
    1 point
  28. This has a beautiful tone. I am very pleased. And it has been loved.
    1 point
  29. Well I called it quits after a soft luster of 6 coats. I used brads at the tail block and strung it up. Cut one string too short in the process and had to get another. The important thing: it has a nice tone and the intonation is fine! I will be adjusting the action in the coming days. Thanks everyone for all the tips and suggestions along the way, and for the future! Time to move on to the “learning to play” discussions! Here are the final pics...
    1 point
  30. Tabledit file for finger positions and economy of motion. Finger Placement.pdf
    1 point
  31. Ok the back is glued on. For my first attempt at building, I am pretty pleased. The waist is a little narrower than the original template as I had to squeeze sides a bit for the top to fit. I thought I left enough overhang of the back and top to account for this but apparently not for the top.
    1 point
  32. Precious Lord Take My Hand - D.pdf Precious Lord Take My Hand - D.mid
    1 point
  33. I know there are plenty of tablature files available, but I thought I would provide the link to my OneDrive anyway. I've added some Christmas tablature in DAA, DAC, DAG, and other tunings. I've also been adding a lot of non-holiday tablature. Dave OneDrive
    1 point
  34. Moving to smaller home - need to thin the herd 😔: => Mell Hanson (4/15/2019) 28 3/4" VSL 1 1/2" wide fretboard GOTOH Tuners Loop end strings Leather strap and Double gig case included => $200.00 obo Price for pick-up in Evanston, IL or for ship plus shipping cost Freddie Beaulieux email @ freddie.beaulieux@gmail.com Text @ (773) 875-9006
    1 point
  35. The First Noel.pdf The First Noel.mid
    1 point
  36. 0:51 Now playing Watch later Watch later Add to queue Add to queue 0:43 Now playing Watch later Watch later Add to queue Add to queue 0:29 Now playing Watch later Watch later Add to queue Add to queue DBGChromaticChordChart1To7.docx
    1 point
  37. A traditional Irish jig. Emphasis on the first and fourth notes. The Road To Lisdoonvarna.pdf The Road To Lisdoonvarna.mid
    1 point
  38. This is a hymn from the middle 1800's. The key to the song is the dotted quarter notes, followed by eighth notes. I Love To Tell The Story.pdf I Love To Tell The Story.mid
    1 point
  39. 1. Don't recognize the maker, but the design, with the pins in the side blocks, is NOT common. 2. Those ARE loop end strings. They start on one side, cross over the top, around a pin on the far side, then back to the start. What gauges? You'll need a micrometer to measure that. You'll also want to know the length of the longest string -- from loop end across to the pin and back. Where? Folkcraft may be able to help. I buy most of my strings from www.juststrings.com; but then I know exactly what I want. 3. Yes that crack in the pin line is "worrisome". Those holes probably should be re-drilled lower and new pins hammered in. At least the cracks should be filled with one of the more gel-like super glues, which should stop movement and tighten things up a hair.
    1 point
  40. I got these from a local estate sale in Springfield Mo. I thought they were too neat to leave behind. the picture of the finished one is his son. I wish I had gotten more info on them.
    1 point
  41. If you have not seen the following link you will find it very informative. https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2020/05/margaret-macarthur/ I would suggest contacting the Vermont Folklife Center, which seems to own her life collection: https://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/
    1 point
  42. Hello everyone, I just purchased a vintage tear drop dulcimer and was wondering if I should tune to DAA or DAD. I tried to tune the melody string to D but there was to much tension so I defaulted to DAA. I have a few questions as a beginner☺️ - Do I need to purchase new strings in order to reach a DAD tuning? - The wood pegs tend to slip at times and I loose the tuning. I pushed the pegs inward to bite tight on the peg hole. Any thoughts to keep the pegs tight? Anything used to coat the pegs to keep them tight? Lastly, does anyone know or have met John D. Young the builder? How rare is this instrument? It’s so beautiful... I really love it and the sweet crisp sound. (See photos) Thank you for your assistance. Kevin
    1 point
  43. Anytime you get a second hand instrument, it's a good thing to change strings. One at a time -- do NOT take them all off them put them all back. If the bridge or nut aren't in exactly the right place it can really mess things up if one or both fall out of place, and string tension will keep them where they belong. What is the VSL? That's the distance between the inside edge of the nut and the inside edge of the bridge. THAT, plus what you want for the home tuning, is what tells you which strings to buy. There are charts and calculators, but virtually ALL pre-packaged sets of "dulcimer" strings will work if the VSL is around 27"--28". Brand is irrelevant. As the Admin says, since your new friend does not have the 6+ fret, tuning to an Ionian/Major scale (DAA, CGG) is the best option. Some folks will tell you all sorts of nonsense about DAA/CGG tunings, but I've been playing in those tunings, without a 6+ fret, for decades -- and have hundreds of tunes in my repertoire. Plus more in other tunings. There are actually very few tunes in the common dulcimer canon which require the 6+ fret. All it means is that you will actually have to learn to tune and re-tune -- get to know -- your dulcimer. You won't find much Tab for songs in DAA, but there is an easy way to convert DAd tab to DAA. Also, if you really must play in the modern Chord-Melody style in stead of more traditionally, and this is your only or primary dulcimer, then I respectfully suggest you learn to play in DAA Chord-Melody rather than DAd. There is a rather nice article by now a sadly deceased gentleman named Merv Rowley, in which he discussed DAA Chord melody playing and gives charts of the chord positions for the various notes. Most of us who use more traditional instruments like yours with the wooden pegs, keep a bottle of Peg Drops or Peg Dope around. It lasts forever! A couple drops on the peg shaft will fix the slipping. Loosen a peg, put a couple drops on the shaft where it will be in the holes, and re-tighten the peg. Always best to push and twist when settling a peg in place. Set the string a bit sharp and let it sink into correct tune as the string relaxes a tiny bit. If you have any further questions, please post them here, or send me private messages if you like. I have a number of resources for new players which you may find useful.
    1 point
  44. Welcome! Feel free to ask any questions you have and we'll try to help you out. Regarding the strings - most of the time a DAA set will make it up into DAd, though depending on the exact gauge they may not. Also if the strings are older you may want to go ahead and change them anyways. Looking at the fretboard, your dulcimer doesn't have a 6 1/2 fret on it so a 1-5-5 tuning like DAA or CGG may be better for playing most tunes. These are tuning for playing the major scale from the 3rd fret up to the 10th fret, also known as Ionian mode. Without the 6 1/2 fret if it's tuned DAd, it will play the Mixolydian mode from the open string. This is close to the Major scale/Ionian mode, but the 7th note (6th fret) is flat. A 6 1/2 fret allows it to play the major scale from the open string up to the 7th fret. It's possible to play major scale tunes in DAd without a 6 1/2 fret, but you'll either need to avoid tunes that call for the 6 1/2 fret, play that note on the middle string (9th fret on middle string is the same note as the 6 1/2 on the melody string), or possibly have a 6 1/2 fret added to the instrument. DAA is a perfectly good option too, though less common now. Either way you'll have a lot of fun, but I would recommend changing the string if they're more than a year or two old.
    1 point
  45. You can play the bass part on a standard dulcimer. Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Melody and Bass.pdf Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Melody and Bass.mid
    1 point
  46. In order to be a counter-melody, the music not only has to harmonize with the melody, but must also be able to stand on its own as a melody. God Of Our Fathers 2 parts.pdf God Of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand Melody and Counter Melody.mid
    1 point
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